Really, he does:
Yeesh. I think I am developing a better understanding of why the conservative backlash narrative works so well. People on the losing side of major legislative and electoral battles in America really do have a habit of calling the winners stupid. When discussing the defeat of the bailout today, the pundit tone on television was almost universally patronizing, sneering disbelief. This even though the pundits were talking about members of Congress who almost all have advanced degrees, who all were democratically elected by hundreds of thousands of people, who acted under enormous stress and in opposition to all available leadership, and who by virtually every available measure are all really, very successful, hard working, people who work in public service. And yet, the disbelief as to how this group of Neanderthals would dare to put the country in such a grim position by daring to vote against this bailout is surely a sign of not only idiocy, but of the failure of the democratic process itself.
I have a word of friendly, concern troll advice to all those who lose electoral or legislative battles in a democratic system: don’t talk down to the winners. This applies in pretty much any electoral or legislative situation, and not just in the specific case of the bailout. You didn’t lose because your opponents are dumb. You lost because you failed to convince enough people you were right. That is actually a failing on your part, not of your opponents. In this specific case, it is a massive failing on the part of the people who supported the bailout. They had both presidential candidates, the leadership of both parties in both branches of Congress, virtually the entire national media, and all of the moneyed interests in their corner, and they still couldn’t convince a majority of either the public or congressional backbenchers that it was a good idea. If you ask me, that is actually pretty frackin’ pathetic. Some might even wonder if there is a fundamental stupidity at the core of this proposal if, with virtually all the levers of public influence supporting it, the majority of the country still thinks it is a bad idea.
Not only is Mr. Bowers 100% correct, but I find myself agreeing with Megan McArdle too:
Pelosi screwed up royally. She is the Democratic Tom DeLay. Newt Gingrich was an ideologue, but Tom DeLay was simply a partisan, most keenly interested in maximizing his party’s political power. Pelosi cut a deal in which, as far as I can tell, every single Republican in a safe seat had to vote yes so that the Democrats could maximize their no votes. Given that the Republican caucus is pretty much in open revolt, this was beyond moronic. She then spent a week openly and repeatedly blaming the Republicans and the Bush administration for the current crisis. The way she set things up, it was “Heads I win, tails you lose”: vote for the deal and I’ll paint you as heartless reactionaries bailing out your fat cat friends. If you’re going to do that, you’d better make sure you have some goddamn margin for error in your own party. She didn’t. Then she got up and delivered yet another speech blaming the Republicans for the bailout deal she was about to pass.
Being in power means that you get to give your party special favors on many occasions–but it also means that you, yes you, have the ultimate responsibility for getting things done. She didn’t particularly try to bring her party in line, and so of course as soon as a few Republicans defected, hers stampeded. The ultimate blame for this failure has to be laid at her feet.
This election is very disorienting. I keep finding myself agreeing with people I rarely or never agreed with before. Last week was the worst, I found myself on the same page with Michelle “Our Lady of Perpetual Outrage” Malkin.
I think I’ll ask my doctor for a note so I can join the nearest Cannabis Club. Booze just isn’t cutting it.